Degree Requirements

Each course in the MA in Science Writing curriculum is classified as a core, workshop, elective, or Residency. MA students enroll in the same courses as Graduate Certificate students. To earn the nine-course MA, students take two cores, two workshops, two electives, one onsite Residency, and another course of their choice, plus a thesis/careers course. (Graduate Certificate students take five courses.)

The core courses focus on fundamental skills in reporting and writing, broad understanding of contemporary science writing forms, a foundation in ethics and professional principles, and an overview of career options in writing and editing. In writing workshops, students submit their own writing and revisions for peer review and editing. Electives usually focus on reading-as-a-writer skills or specific forms or topics such as voice, structure, or nature writing. Internships and Independent Studies also are available. At least one onsite, face-to-face Residency course is required for the MA degree. The degree program concludes with a capstone course, Thesis and Careers in Science Writing, in which students revise their best, most publishable work from earlier courses and prepare a formal career plan for success in the field.

Master of Arts in Science Writing

Nine courses, including a Residency and thesis:
1. Techniques of Science Writing (online core course)
2. Contemporary Science Writing: Creative and Professional Forms (online core course)
3/4. Two Science Writing Workshops (online; can be any course with Workshop in title)
5/6. Two Science Writing electives (online)
7. One Residency course (onsite; location and topics vary each year)
8. One Student Choice: Another workshop, elective, Residency, course in other AAP Programs*, or an internship or Independent Study
9. Thesis and Careers in Science Writing (online; final course)

*Select courses available from AAP programs in Environmental Sciences and Policy, Communication, Biotechnology, and Government.

If possible, MA students should complete Techniques of Science Writing before enrolling in a workshop or Residency. Exceptions are granted to this guideline with advisor approval. Some experienced journalists or writers may ask to replace one or both core courses with other courses, as approved. Students usually take one or two courses per term, and they may take one or two terms off as personal schedules require. Thesis and Careers in Science Writing should be taken in the last term of studies and MA students are urged to complete all eight pre-thesis courses before enrolling in thesis. Students have five years to finish their degrees, with extensions and leaves of absence possible.

Note: Under AAP guidelines, only three Certificate courses can count toward the MA in Science Writing. Certificate students who become interested in the MA degree should declare their interest early to avoid the need to complete extra courses.

State-specific Information for Online Programs

Note: Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.